Jon Ledecky has been hosting season ticket member lunches and happy hours over the past few weeks, and on Tuesday, he brought a few special guests with him.
Stan Fischler, the legendary hockey reporter and Islanders historian, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joined Ledecky and a group of New York Islanders season ticket members during a VIP lunch at the league's head office.
"Our fans got a doubleheader today," Ledecky said. "They got to meet two great guys who love hockey and got to ask the tough questions about the future of the NHL, hockey and the Islanders. It was a wonderful event."
Don't just take Ledecky's word for it. The 20 season ticket holders - chosen at random - were thrilled to be a part of an exclusive gathering.
"It was a really terrific event, having it be so small and intimate was really great," said Lauren Orenstein, who attended the lunch with her son Josh. "Aside from the players, these are the people that make it happen. And Stan Fischler is a legend, so this was really cool."
Lunch with Ledecky and Fischler was already a big thrill, but the commissioner's presence was an unexpected surprise, with Bettman fielding questions from fans on topics from white jerseys at home, outdoor games, ref cams and more.
"Anytime I have the opportunity to meet with hockey fans and answer their questions, tell them what we're thinking and why we do the things we do, I find it to be a very good experience," Bettman said. "It was great to be here with some really longtime and loyal Islanders fans and all of us are excited about Belmont."
Bettman served as the opener for Fischler, who entertained the intimate group with Islanders stories and endless supply of jokes. The Maven talked about signaling interviews with secret codewords, how he scored his favorite interview - with Ray Ferraro after the Isles beat the Pens in 1993 - and a host of other Islanders topics. For fans who are used to having him in their living room on TV, or on their bookshelves, it was a treat to be up, close and personal - and snag a few pictures.
"We've seen him in the concourse during games, but I don't think we've ever spoken with him," Orenstein said. "His encyclopedic knowledge of every single game, where he was, what he felt like, where he was sitting, what was happening, every single player that touched the puck. I cannot fathom the memory. It's incredible and listening to him talk about these games, it's as if it were yesterday."
Fischler held court for just under an hour, taking questions from fans. One fan asked if any team could top the Islanders record of 19-straight playoff series wins.
"It would be more likely for me to swim across the Hudson River backwards," Fischler replied.
Tuesday's event was the third VIP event staged by the Isles, following up the happy hour with Butch Goring and John Tonelli at Offside Tavern on July 30. The meetups are part of an initiative by the team to offer more exclusive benefits to season ticket holders, as well as a chance for Ledecky to say thank you to dedicated fans.
"Throughout the season, season ticket holders will be invited to special events that really no one else has access to," Ledecky said. "Membership access has its privileges and being a season ticket holder today is a wonderful privilege and an opportunity to get in a priority line for Belmont."
Want to join Jon Ledecky for the next special event? Check your email inbox if you're a season ticket member for a chance to win an invitation to the next one,or become a season ticket member today.